I have had two days back at home to think about my time at #Banff2012. It was an amazing time, and I would even dare to say, a life-changing time, but yet the Virgo in me thinks I could have done it better.
For starters, I would have completed *all* of my work before I arrived so I didn’t have to spend my first day thinking about the writing that I should be doing. Secondly, I would have strategized my sessions better, but that would take a huge team effort. Mainly incorporating all of the tips that I have laid out below.
I missed the ‘Rookies in the Rockies‘ session the first day at Banff. Mistake number one. But here is the list that you need when you start planning to the Banff World Media Festival. This was written from my perspective as a person pitching a TV show, so adapt for your own purposes, of course.
- iPad. This is essential for taking notes in sessions (less cumbersome than a laptop) and also fantastic for showing your teaser trailer when out and about between sessions.
- Data. Upgrade your data plan and max it out so you can tether while you are at the conference. The wifis are available at the conference, but can get overloaded midday so it’s best to rely on your own laurels.
Taking Care of Business
- Business Cards. While they are a given, but I found that I needed much more than I usually do for a four-day conference, so be sure to stock up. Oh and if you are on Twitter, it best have your handle on it.
- Postcards. During the conference and those early cocktail reception hours, I thought to myself how awesome it would be to have a simple postcard with my logo on one side and my photo on the other with logline, contact information and a link to my password-protected teaser trailer. I think it would be a simple way to talk to people about my show without having all of the materials on hand.
- One-Pager. We made one with a logo and my photo with a long synopsis one one side and the character list with photos and contact information on the other. It was full-colour and stylistic in line with the core branding.
- DVD w/ Teaser Trailer. A great takeaway for the network meetings and those with potential service providers. A given. Be sure to bring lots. Even more bonus points if you can make that a USB drive (increased portability and re-usable – plus MB Air people can view).
- Sleek Laptop Bag. You might be bound to your laptop and want to take it everywhere. Briefcases and oversized purses have no place at Banff. A slick little black laptop case is the perfect accompaniment to tote around with you. I like this one by M0851.
- Warm Clothing. The weather is precarious at best in Banff. Earlier on the Saturday I arrived, it was snowing. So all of a sudden my bright, summer wardrobe looked ridiculously out of place. Closed toe shoes and a few cashmere sweaters will take you a long way.
- Business Casual Clothing. During the day the feel was decidedly business casual. Sure there were a few suits here and there, but most looked comfortable in being dressy without trying too hard. Effortlessly chic. Leave the power suit at home and go with that dress shirt, cardigan combo for a more mountain chic look.
- Cocktail Chic. The evenings are filled with dinners, parties, and events. Also there are fantastic photo booths so wearing a chic little dress or outfit is essential for getting great photos and feeling fabulous when meeting new people. No one wants to be the person in the same outfit all day and all night long.
- Steamer. While I simply never travel without a steamer, it is a must when you want your clothes to look crisp without having to send out your entire wardrobe to the hotel for pressing. Pack a light, small steamer like this one from Sunbeam. Packing your clothes that need to be clean on wire hangers in a plastic dry cleaning back is the most efficient way of traveling without spending all of your time steaming, pressing, or ironing.
- B Vitamins. Those late nights filled with cocktails might make you feel a little tired in the morning. Take a few B vitamins (whole food ones are my favourite) and a bottle of water before you go to bed and presto, you feel like you were a perfect little angel the next morning. If you do not, then keep some bananas on hand for a little extra potassium.
- Caffeine. While there seemed to be a ton of coffee and tea out in the morning, by 3 PM (when you really need it), there was none to be found in the building. No time to race over to the main lobby or delegates lounge? Here’s an easy solution – inhalable caffeine. I heard that the oxygen bar offered a nice little pick-me-up, but this is the next best thing to traveling with a doctor to give you vitamin b shots.
- Reservations. Make lunch reservations nice and early on those days when you don’t want to join in on the sponsored lunch or need a quiet reprieve from the crowd. The Rundle Lounge gets booked fast and if you don’t book well in advance you’ll be turned away like a schmuck. The Grille offers a quick buffet, but for $35 a person, it is best to just make the reservations and get the food that you really want. Worst case scenario and you end up with a soggy tuna sandwich at the cafeteria just off the main lobby. Not sexy.
- Coyotes. The best breakfast in town. If you are off the main hotel, then you will soon realize that breakfast options are seriously limited. This place offers freshly squeezed juice, delicious coffee, and free range organic eggs. Trust me, you might want to rely on this each and every morning.
- Book Early. Book a hotel room at Fairmont Springs. You will likely have to book six months in advance to get your preferred section and rate. But you already know that you are going next year right? This is the simplest, and most sane way to do the festival. You already have a place to quickly relax, freshen up, take a nap, and access the less-busy wifis. This is the most efficient way to get into full swing at the Banff Media Festival.
- SUV. Rent an SUV to get around because you’ll want to take advantage of a leisurely drive to and from the mountains and you might want to escape the town and take a rendezvous away from the main attraction.
- Get there early, leave later. Ideally you get there at least a day earlier to get settled, look around and prepare yourself for the event to come. When you are finished, you’ll want another morning to head over to Lake Louise, or go for a hike. So tack on an extra few days if you can manage it. You will feel that much happier if you do.
The most important thing that you can do to prep for #Banff2013 is to get busy working on your project(s). In order to really make the Banff World Media Festival work for you, you have to have a clear idea of your objectives, interests, and be sure to be exactly at the stage in your development to make it worth it. I have lots to work on, deliver, prepare for, and shoot in the next year and I am amped to get to it! Until next year Banff …